Balneotherapy is one of the oldest therapies for pain relief. The term ‘balneo’ comes from the Latin word, balneum, meaning bath. Balneotherapy is a form of hydrotherapy which involves bathing in mineral water or warm water.
A study compared bathing in mineral water to plain tap water in 60 people with lower back pain and Fibromyalgia. They found that mineral water containing sulphur was superior in reducing pain and improving mobility, compared with tap water.
Pain Source point out that the specifics as to how balneotherapy alleviates the symptoms of fibromyalgia are complex, and not completely known. Bathing in mineral or thermal water may have beneficial effects that result from a combination of mechanical, thermal and chemical factors. Balneotherapy offers effective treatment methods that can be adapted to the abilities and preferences of each patient, without showing significant side effects. Balneotherapy for fibromyalgia cannot substitute conventional therapy, but can represent a complementary approach or an alternative for patients who do not tolerate pharmacological treatments.
As there are many different types of healing baths, balneotherapy takes many different forms. This includes everything from whirlpools and affusion showers to mineral, thermal, cold, or hydrobaths.
Whether given in a healing bath or pool, balneotherapy always involves the use of water for therapeutic purposes. Wraps may also be used such as those consisting of algae, mud or peat as these can help detoxify and enrich the skin. Water from hot springs or mineral or sea water may be used to ease disharmony within the body. Different forms of treatment are used for different conditions and there is considerable variety.
The Fit Map explains that “Water can be used to greatly enhance your sense of well being. These forms of treatment are particularly good for easing physical pain caused by muscle strain or arthritis. It’s often used as an important part of physio and to help people recover after an injury or operation.
It’s also good for back pains and increasing mobility. Water can help to boost the immune system in order to help fight off illness and infection. These treatments have been used to help stroke victims or those suffering from serious conditions such as Parkinson’s disease.
They can help you to relax and lower stress levels. Warm baths are particularly good for easing soreness or stiffness and for calming your nerves.
Cold baths on the other hand can help increase circulation and are good for vitality and increased energy. Water is one of the essential ingredients of life and the power of these treatments to improve your physical and mental health cannot be overestimated.”
Therapies Guide UK has a list of Balneotherapists in the UK, and a number of Hotels in Europe advertise they have this available as well as some Spa’s in the UK like Chapney’s Health Spa’s